How Then Will We Live... in Wisdom or Folly?
July 26, 2009 | Andrew Davis
Book Overviews, Two Journeys
Wisdom Calls Aloud
On January 12, 2007, during rush hour, as commuters were passing through the turnstiles of the L'Enfant Plaza station of the subway line in Washington, DC, hurrying to their jobs and their other destinations, a man took out a violin and began to play. He played for more than 45 minutes. Thousands of people walked by. A few people threw coins and bills into his open violin case, but none stopped to listen for any length of time. About six or seven people did pause briefly, but no one stayed for any length of time. Now, this man played beautifully, incredibly skillfully; however, there was no applause because the people walking by really had no way to appreciate the level of skill and technical, really perfection, and achievement of his playing.
And who was this man that was playing the violin on a subway station in Washington DC? Well, his name is Joshua Bell, and he's one of the greatest violinists of our time. He's the winner of the Avery Fisher Prize for Outstanding Achievement in classical music. He annually books more than 200 international concerts a year. The six pieces he played were written by Bach and involved some of the most intricate and beautiful violin techniques known to the craft. The violin he was holding in that subway station was a 1713 Stradivarius worth $3.5 million. Now, that's a lot of courage to bring a Stradivarius into a subway station. Now, two days before he played in that DC subway, Joshua Bell had played before a sold-out crowd at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The seats went for $100 each, and you couldn't get tickets. But on that cold morning in the Washington subway, he collected a mere $32.17 for his efforts. Only 27 of the 1,097 passers-by contributed money.
Now, those DC subway riders who heard the music really could not be expected to appreciate it. They were just hurrying to work. And I have to confess, if I'd been one of them, I probably wouldn't have stopped much longer either. As Paul says, I'm not saying this to shame you. It's not that. And so, it was also that the Washington Post writer that set this whole thing up was just doing a little bit of a test of beauty and aesthetic skill in a strange setting. But the more I meditate on this story, it really lined up well with wisdom's call in Proverbs 8. In effect, this was a living parable, not just of a skillful violinist who nobody really could appreciate well, or Prince and the Pauper kind of story - that kind of thing. Skill, unappreciated. Far more significant than that is a tragedy of greater, really of infinite proportions.
So Also, Christ Calls Aloud
And that is the fact that wisdom - the wisdom of God - stands in crowded streets all around the world, holding out her hands and beckoning to simple people as they hurry by. Wisdom standing at the busy intersections and crossroads of life, pleading with us to give up our foolish ways and follow instead the way of wisdom. In the book of Proverbs, wisdom is personified as a woman doing this calling. In Proverbs 1:20 and following, it says, "Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voices in the public squares; At the head of the noisy streets, she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech: ‘How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?’" (Proverbs 1:20-22).
Proverbs 8, similarly it says, "Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city at the entrances, she cries aloud: ‘To you, O men, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding. Listen, for I have worthy things to say'" (Proverbs 8:1-6). Well, that's wisdom, wisdom personified, crying out. How much greater then is the claim that Jesus Christ has on us as He does the same thing? As He stands and extends His hands, as it says in Romans 10 concerning disobedient people who will not listen to Me, it says, "All day long I've held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people" (Romans 10:21). Or in John 7, at one of those massive feasts of the Jews, Jesus goes right into the center of that crowded city and stands up and calls out, on the last and greatest day of the feast, calls out in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him" (John 7:37-38).
Picture it in your mind, Jesus standing up in a crowded city, calling out to people to come to Him, that they may have life and have it abundantly. Or in Matthew 11, where He... Again, you get the picture of Him extending out His hands, even physically, saying, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you'll find rest for your souls, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Dear friends, we hear or we die. When Jesus says, "He who has ears let him hear” (Matthew 11:15), it's no light thing. As He says in another place, "Be very careful then how you listen” (Luke 8:18). And so, as we begin a look at the book of Proverbs, just some studies in it and try to understand wisdom's call, I always want you to step behind that metaphor of personified wisdom, and I want you to see Jesus as He calls to you to leave foolishness - the foolishness of sin - and walk after Him in the joy of eternal life.
The Central Issue of the Book of Proverbs
Now, as we come to the book of Proverbs, we come really to a fork in the road. Really constantly, there's this fork in the road in the book of Proverbs. You're brought to a decision point: you can go left or you can go right. Again and again, many of the Proverbs are written in this kind of contrasting couplet kind of style. For example, Proverbs 10:9, "The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out." So, there I'm put at the fork in the road. Will I be a man of integrity who walks securely, or will I take crooked paths and be found out? What am I going to do? Proverbs 10:9 puts me at the fork of the road. Or again, Proverbs 10:12, "Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs." Again, the proverb puts me right there at the fork in the road. Perhaps someone has wronged me. Will I hate that person, hold a grudge against him, and thus stir up dissension, or will I in love cover over all wrongs? I'm put at the fork of the road by that Proverb.
Again, Proverbs 13:18, "He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored." Perhaps I have sinned and I'm being corrected, I've done something wrong, and I'm being disciplined. Maybe the Lord is using someone to give me a word of rebuke or correction. And again, I'm put at the fork in the road: Will I become prideful? Will I kind of harden my heart? Will I resent the person who's bringing me the truthful message? Or will I heed that word humbly? Will I change my life and live differently? If so, I will be honored, but if I ignore the discipline, I'm going to come to ruin. Again, a fork in the road and a decision to be made. We could multiply this by the dozens from the book of Proverbs. It puts us at the fork in the road, and the central issue is always the same: it's always about a relationship.
Now, I'm not speaking horizontally about the relationship. The book of Proverbs is full of practical wisdom about good relationships: husband and wife, parent-child, neighbor to neighbor, king to people, judge to those being judged, merchant to those that are buying from them. You know, there's all kinds of human relationships, and we'll look at some of that. But that's not what I have in mind. I mean, much more of that vertical, that infinite relationship with Almighty God, that's the real issue as you stand at the fork in the road. Two verses speak about this, Proverbs 9:10, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding."
We're going to give some attention to that concept in a full sermon, in a few weeks. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. You won't make the right choice. You're going to turn the wrong direction if you don't first fear the Lord. Or again, Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all of your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths." So, you stand there at the fork in the road and you're to abandon trust in yourself and in your own wisdom and you're to learn to think after God, to think like God does. That's the key for the fork in the road. Now, all decisions flow from this central one: What will you do with God? Are you in a right relationship with God? That's the central one. Everything else flows from it.
Two Key People: The Wise Man & The Fool
And from that, in terms of tendencies and patterns and habits, and, frankly, in terms of essential identity, in the book of Proverbs, you have two key individuals. They're two paradigm people. You have the wise man, and you have the fool. Wise man does this, and the fool does that. And two basic journeys flow from this as well. The wise man walks in the way of wisdom. You could almost picture it as an upward ascending path, getting brighter and brighter more and more righteous, more and more like Christ ultimately. Or the fool - the foolish paths of descending spiral really down to hellish, foolishness, and rebellion. And I want to talk about those two basic journeys, just as an introduction to this book of Proverbs, and I want to use the two different ways to live approach to ask you where you're at in your relationship with God. Where are you at in your relationship with Jesus Christ? It's really a diagnostic tool.
The Ascent to Heavenly Wisdom
Step One: Discipline
So, let's look first at the ascent to heavenly wisdom. Now, when I talk about steps and ascending, I don't want you to think that it's mechanical. You go from this stage to the next stage, and then having achieved that, you go to the next stage. It's not like that; it's really not that clear cut. Life is seldom that clear cut. But there are tendencies in these Hebrew words that we're looking at, and an upward call of God in Christ Jesus toward wisdom, and that's what we're going to follow. Same is true of the negative journey down to hellish rebellion, but the first step that the book of Proverbs gives us in this ascent to heavenly wisdom is discipline. Discipline. The Hebrew word is Musar. Proverbs 3:11-12 says, "My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father, the son, He delights in."
Now, this discipline clearly arises out of love - love from God and love from parents. It's painful. If it weren't painful, it wouldn't be discipline. Says in the book of Hebrews, quoting this very same passage, "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful," (Hebrews 12:11). It's painful. But it arises out of love. Proverbs 13:24, "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him." Well, if that's true, as Jesus said, "You then though you are evil know how to give good gifts. And how much more will your Heavenly Father?" (Matthew 7:11). And so it is here, if we, though we are evil, know how to discipline our children and that it's really bad for them if we don't, how much more, then, does the Heavenly Father discipline us? That's where it starts. Now, the basic idea then in the book of Proverbs is that we all begin naturally as fools. In Adam, we are fools; that's where we start. We don't come out of the womb wise.
It says in one proverb, "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. But the rod of reproof drives it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). And so, we start naturally as fools, and those natural tendencies really abide with us our whole lives. And so, our whole lives were really under the discipline of the Lord. We tend to do foolish things, and so the way to Heaven then really is a way of re-proof or discipline. Proverbs 10:17 says, "Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects re-proof leads others astray." So, the key thing in Proverbs again and again is, do you accept the rebuke or not?
Step Two: Discernment
Second step, then, in the ascending path toward holy wisdom is discernment. Discernment. Hebrew word is Binah, from the Hebrew word meaning “between,” between two things. And so, it has to do with making distinctions between this and that, between right and wrong, between good and evil, between a wise path and a foolish path. A discerning person, therefore, can see these things and understand which way to go, begins to get some discernment. This is the very thing that young King Solomon asked for. We'll talk more about him in a later message, but Solomon asked for wisdom from God. This is what he said: 1 Kings 3:9, "Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?"
Well, you know, it wasn't long after that that he's sitting in judgment over two women who are fighting over one infant. One of the infants had died, and the other one was still alive, and they were bickering and arguing over whose child it was - a brand newborn. And so, there they stand - two women, this one and this one, and both of them making the same claim. And you remember how Solomon says... The king says, this one says, "My son is alive, and your son is dead." But then this one says, "No, your son is dead, and mine is alive." Well, there he's at, being in the moment. The between moment. What's he going to do? Well, you remember what he does (I don't know how in the world it worked), “Take a sword and cut the baby in half, and give them each half.” And one said, "Yeah, go ahead and cut him." That was an act of God, in my opinion. I mean, who's going to say that in front of a judge? “Sure, go ahead and cut him up. Neither one of us have him.” But that's how the Lord blessed. But still, you can see the distinction. This and that. Which one? Which way are we going? And he said, "Give the baby to this one. She is his mother." So, the person at this point has begun to understand from discipline of the Lord to make distinctions between right and wrong. They get disciplined by God, they trace it back, and they find out what they did wrong, and they decide not to do it again.
Step Three: Understanding
Alright, the third step is understanding. The Hebrew root word is Sakal, and it takes this discernment a step further. Not only at this point does a person understand right from wrong, but they go beyond to see God in all of it - God's ways, the wisdom of God in this. And really the answer to the question, why? Why is it like this? Why is this the wise path and this one the foolish one? Why has God given us this command and forbidden this? He sees the bigger picture. Now, this is what understanding is about. Why does God favor marital faithfulness over adultery? Why does He favor the truthful witness in court over the one that pours out lies? Why does He favor the honest merchant who uses honest scales and honest weights over the deceptive merchant who's tricking everyone. Why? He sees the bigger picture of the effects of evil in the universe and what God is doing.
Step Four: Prudence
Fourth step is the step of prudence. The Hebrew word is Orma. Proverbs 1:4, "To give prudence to the simple and knowledge and discretion to the youth." And Proverbs 8:5, "O simple ones learn prudence, O fools, learn sins." Now, frequently this word in the Hebrew is translated “guile” or “subtlety,” frequently in the negative sense, somewhat like the serpent in the garden having some guile or trickery. But in Proverbs, it is frequently used as something good. And I think when Jesus said, "Be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves," (Matthew 10:16), it's a shrewdness in dealing with, I think, evil in the world. Do you remember how the apostle Paul says, you took a certain action... 2 Corinthians 2:11, "In order that Satan might not outwit us, for we're not unaware of his schemes." I know what he's doing; I can see what he's doing. I understand the temptation, the pull. Another word for prudence… Translated prudence as Mezima. Proverbs 5:1-4, "My son,” he says, "Pay attention to My wisdom and listen well to My words of insight, so that you may maintain discretion” - there's the word - "and your lips may preserve knowledge for the lips of an adulterous drip honey. And her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end, she as bitter as gall and sharp as a double-edged sword.” So, this prudence keeps someone from being tricked by the honey words of an adulterous. He can see through it to say, “This flattery doesn't mean anything. She is just leading me here to destruction.” He's able to see through what Satan is doing and how Satan is tempting. He is able to steer clear of treacherous shoals and reefs that lay hidden to the undiscerning eye.
I was reading recently about Ferdinand Magellan's circumnavigation of the globe, and the hardest part of all, of course, was getting around South America, the tip of South America. And at dawn on October 21st, 1520, Magellan led his ships through the first stages of the treacherous Straits that would later bear his name, the Straits of Magellan.
Straits are an amazing 334 miles long, buffeted by an endless succession of tricky winds and gales. Very complex weather patterns, very difficult to read, and very violent. And on each side of the passageway, lay reefs and shoals, most of which is obviously are hidden to the eye. But, as Magellan stood on the deck, he noticed the behavior of the water and noticed that the water was running like a river between the left and the right shoals, just like a river and its river bed, and he followed the motion of the water through the twists and turns. It took 38 days to get through, as he followed that river and as they charted their course. And when he finally got through and came out into clear peaceful waters, he named that ocean Mar Pacifico - the Pacific Ocean - just because of the peace he felt after that. That's just a picture of life.
It's dangerous in this world, and we've got to have prudence to see what Satan is doing, because Satan doesn't come saying, "Honestly, I want to destroy your world. I want to destroy it. I want to take from you everything you value." Instead, he comes like an angel of light, and so a wise person is discerning to see the hand of the Devil and what he's trying to do.
Step Five: Knowledge
The fifth word is knowledge. The Hebrew word is da'at. In Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." This, dear friends, is not so much information as it is a covenant relationship with God. It's not facts and figures you can put on a test, you can get the right answer on a theology exam, or you can go home and tell each other what I even preached about. What an achievement that would be: "I know what he talked about. I even remember a little part, that Magellan thing. I remember that." They always remember the illustrations.
But no, it's more than just facts and figures. It's all about a right relationship with God. It's God-centered knowledge. Proverbs 2:4 and 5, "If you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and you will find the knowledge of God." It's a knowledge of God. So, Jesus said, "This is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). And so, we see the wise man in Proverbs moving from his native foolishness as a child to full mature wisdom of God. Step by step, as he grows under the hand of his loving father, he becomes more discerning, more prudent, more filled with the knowledge of God. Until at last, that knowledge is consummated in glorification, an instantaneous transformation. We will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is, and the journey will be complete.
The Descent to Hellish Foolish
Now, don't misunderstand this. We are not in any way teaching some new secret Gnosticism, where there are going to be special discipleship classes, you need the word of knowledge for each ascending step. And come to us, the elders will tell you, if we find you worthy, we'll give you that key of knowledge and up you'll go. It's not like that. It's not that clear, but all of these words are used in the book of Proverbs, and there is, I think, a general movement upward toward wisdom and righteousness. But conversely, there's also the descend to foolish, hellish foolishness. Just as we have the Wise Man's ascent from childish foolish to heavenly knowledge, but the book of Proverbs traces out an opposite journey down to hellish foolishness, again, beginning with that native foolishness that we have.
When we were living as missionaries in Japan, we lived in the city of Tokushima, and nearby was a resort town named Naruto. And in the ocean way, right near Naruto, the straits there, the tidal current is the fastest in all of Japan, and the fourth fastest in the world, going 12 miles per hour. Can you believe ocean current 12 miles an hour? It's very fast. And this creates their massive whirlpools, the Uzushio. And so, people would come to see the whirlpools, reaching in some cases 66 feet in diameter. And if you were out there in a kayak or a rowboat or something like that, you might get quickly escorted to the bottom of the channel. A very strong downward pull. And that's what I have in mind as I talk about this downward pull toward hellish foolishness. There's an ever-increasing force on the fool as he travels along in life.
Step One: Naivete
Step One is naivete, just being naïve. Sometimes the word is translated “simple” or “gullible.” Proverbs 14:15 says, "The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thoughts to his steps." So, this man just believes everything. He's wide-eyed and gullible. But he also willfully exercises his irresponsibility. Proverbs 1:22, "How long, oh naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?" You just seem to enjoy it. This is not cute or charming naivete. Not at all. This is a moral issue. It's the beginning of a deadly journey. Proverbs 1:32 says, "The waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them." A naïve youth is on display in Proverbs 7, as the king looks through his lattice window and sees a young man lacking discretion. He's naive, he's gullible, and he's walking down the street, and suddenly out comes of woman, the wayward wife. She's dressed with evil intent, and she comes out and uses those honey words, "My husband's gone a long way on a journey, he's going to be gone a long time, and I've got fellowship offerings. And come, let us spend the night together. I was looking for you and now look, I've found you. You're the very one I was looking for." Yeah, right. We'll get to that later, alright?
But, at any rate, there's this lure. And again, the king looking down through the lattice window at this naïve young man. And all of a sudden, he follows her, little knowing it will cost him his life, when an arrow pierces his liver, and he groans and says, "How I spurned discipline and wisdom." Well, he begins by being naïve; he's not aware of what's going on; he doesn't see the evil and the danger in the situation.
Step Two: Stubbornness
Step Two is stubbornness. The naïve person who's rebuked and chastened comes to that key fork in the road again, a key moment in life, and, if he yields and learns, he takes a step toward wisdom, but if he hardens his heart, he begins getting sucked down that whirlpool, down that vortex toward hellish foolishness. So, Step Two then becomes stubbornness as he doesn't heed what he's learned, and he becomes stubborn. Proverbs 13:19 says, "A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil." They get stubborn, they dig in their heels and they detest turning away from evil.
Well, this man is not stupid. He's thick-headed and stubborn. He has developed a taste now for evil. Proverbs 10:23, "A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct, but a man of understanding delights in wisdom." So, he finds pleasure in evil conduct; he enjoys it. He loves to hear himself talk (Proverbs 12:23), but he says nothing worth listening to. He is unreliable as a worker (Proverbs 26:6) or as a messenger. You can't send him to take a message. He squanders the money he has; he's developing everyday life habits of foolishness. He is a tremendous source of grief and agony to his parents (Proverbs 10:1). Not only does he bring ruin to his parents, he actually despises them. Proverbs 15:20, "A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother."
Step Three: Hardening
Step Three is hardening of heart. The Hebrew word is ewil. He refuses counsel because he is convinced that he needs none. He doesn't need any advice; he knows what he's doing. He doesn't need any input. Proverbs 12:15, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice." So, you can't tell this man anything. He already knows what to do. And again, Proverbs 15:5, "A fool spurns his father's discipline and he mocks at sin." The whole concept of sin is a joke. For me, I have to tell you, it's a deadly force that I'm fighting every day of my life. It has a tyranny to it, and I don't want it to ruin everything I care about in this world. That's how I look at sin, but a fool laughs at it. It's a joke; it's funny. And so, it says in Proverbs 14:9, "Fools mock at sin." He tends to be angry and irritable. Proverbs 12:16, "A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult." At this point, frankly, even the most extreme hardships and disciplines have little effect on him at all. Proverbs 27:22 says, "Though you grind a fool in mortar, grinding him like grain with a pestle, you will not remove his folly from him." It's just woven into who he is.
Step Four: Closed to God
Step Four is he's closed to God, closed off. The Hebrew word here is nabal. Nabal. It's the word “fool.” It shows up in Psalm 14 in verse 1, "The fool says in his heart, there is no God." That's what the nabal says. Do you remember 1 Samuel 25? We meet a man named... You usually say Nabal? Well, that's him. You remember how David was watching? He and his men were watching the sheep during sheep shearing time, and they're hungry living out in the desert and all that, so he sends messengers to Nabal and asks for some food just in return for the labor that they've done. And this man treats them harshly and rudely, sends them away with nothing, and the messengers go back to David. Do you remember how David reacts? He says, "Put on your swords. We're going for a ride."
Well, meanwhile, the other servants in the household find out what has happened, and they are in a panic, and for good reason too. They run to Nabal's wise wife, Abigail, and they say this about Nabal. As they speak to Abigail, they say, "Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him." Well, that's a nabal. He's a fool, he's so wicked that no one can talk to him. Have you ever tried to evangelize to someone like that. Jesus said, "Do not give dogs what is sacred and do not throw pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet and then turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6). Well, that's a nabal.
Step Five: Confirmed Rebel
And finally, he is a confirmed rebel, a scoffer, a mocker. Proverbs 9:7 and 8, "Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer or he will hate you, but reprove a wise man, and he will love you." He absolutely refuses correction even from his own father. Proverbs 13:1 says, "A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke." He's no longer at this point, dear friends, some naïve simpleton. It can't be excused as youthful immaturity. No, he's not investigating folly anymore. He's confirmed as a rebel rejecting all authority. Proverbs 21:24, "Scoffer is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride." And what is the outcome for him? Proverbs 29 in verse 1, "A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy."
Jesus Has Become for Us Wisdom from God
Now, that's the book of Proverbs. That's wisdom and foolishness. That's two journeys, dear friends: two different ways to live. The way of wisdom, the upward path of wisdom, or the downward path of foolishness. What is the answer as you stand at the fork in the road? Well, I can tell you right now from personal experience and from Scripture and from theology, the answer is not a raw act of the will. I have decided; I have made the decision; I'm going to be a wise man and not a fool. I'm going to stand at every fork of the road and always choose the right path for the rest of my life. Dear friends, you don't know yourselves; you don't know the devil and his trickery; you don't know the world and its allure.
You and I - we all need a Savior. We need a Savior. We need someone to be wise on our behalf, amen? We need someone to be more than that, we need someone to be wisdom for us, and we have such a one and His name is Jesus, who has, it says in 1 Corinthians 1:30, become for us wisdom from God. Amen. He's not just teaching you wisdom. He's not just saying, “Follow me, I show you the wise way.” He's doing that: He is teaching you wisdom. He is saying, “Follow me, I'll show you the wise way,” but He's more than that. “I will be your wisdom on Judgment Day. I will live the righteous life for you, and I will give you every right decision I ever made as a gift.” Oh, how glorious is that. Oh, how glorious it is.
It is not legalism for me to stand here week after week before the pulpit and say, "You need to live a righteous life. You need to make wise decisions." It's not going to be legalism for me to preach the book of Proverbs and say, "Here's a good way to handle your money. Here's a good way to use your tongue. Here's a good way to deal with your wife. Here's a good way to deal with your children." It's not legalism, I want that kind of rubber-meets-the-road wisdom. But my righteousness does not consist in that. Amen! It consists in the fact that Jesus lived the perfectly wise life, died in my place, shedding his blood for my sins and all of my foolishness, and just gives it all to me as a gift. And so, as we begin this study in Proverbs and go through and look at these topics, never forget that Jesus has become for us wisdom from God, that is our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. And He, by His Spirit, will enable you to make wiser and wiser choices as you stand at probably about a thousand forks in the road a day and ask God to help you navigate those shoals.
Dear friends, we come now to a time of celebration of the Lord's Supper. We have here a memorial, a remembrance of what Jesus did. A moment ago, I said that Jesus died on the cross in the place of sinners. We've heard testimony from Leticia and also from Adrian of how God saved them. If you are a Christian, if you have come to faith in Christ, and if you have, as these two did earlier today, testified that to that by believer baptism, you are welcome to come and partake in this - the Lord's Supper. The Lord's Supper is nothing magical, but we do trust, and we have prayed that the Holy Spirit will use these elements of bread and of juice to remind us of the power of the cross and of all of what God has done for us. So, I'd like to invite the deacons now to come help serve a table as we share the Lord's Supper together.